Gardai to clamp down on GAA drug users
GARDAI monitored Hill 16 at Croke Park during yesterday's clash between Dublin and Offaly in a bid to stamp out cocaine and alcohol abuse at big matches.
Both uniformed and plain-clothes gardai mingled with the 14,000-strong crowd on Hill 16 following reports of open drug-taking during last week's Dublin and Meath replay.
The problem of drug abuse was also raised at a GAA meeting last week as GAA bosses admitted they had received several complaints about fans snorting cocaine at matches.
Former Dublin manager, Tommy Carr, called for anyone caught using the class A drug to be banned from Croke Park forever.
Angry GAA fans bombarded websites with eyewitness accounts of fans described as snorting cocaine off the top of urinals and from coins.
Others were spotted openly mixing cocaine with alcohol while hash was also smelt in the air.
Alcohol abuse was also reported and disgusted onlookers subsequently reported what they saw going on at Hill 16 on national radio shows.
Gardai and GAA stewards engaged in the normal policing operation at Croke Park yesterday, confiscating drink and targeting drug offenders. The Garda Dog Unit was also on hand.
A Garda spokesperson said there was no signs of any trouble.
Meanwhile, a GAA spokesperson confirmed the cocaine incident was raised at an event review meeting among GAA staff, stewards, security and gardai.
He said: "There were complaints about this.
"We deal with any problems that are raised by supporters. You can't have 80,000 people in a stadium without problems arising and we do deal with problems that have arisen.
"First and foremost, you're talking about a criminal offence and we would obviously co-operate with the gardai in any way they see fit," he was reported as saying.
"As always, it is only a small section of people engaging in illegal drugs and the majority of the crowds at yesterday's sports fixtures were only out to enjoy the action on the field."
* Meanwhile, punters at Boyle Sports are due to clean up to the tune of €50,000 after the bookmakers said they would pay out on first goal scored in the Dublin-Offaly match despite confusion as to who actually scored it.
PR Betting Spokesperson for Boyle Sports, Leon Blanche, said: "Following the confusion as to who actually scored the first goal in the match, Boyle Sports are going to pay out on all three options. That's probably worth about €50,000 to the lucky punters involved. We will honour all bets placed on Alan Brogan, Mark Vaughan and also on the No Goal Scorer during the game."